How do I Treat and Prevent Jock Itch?

Published: August 10, 2023
Barbara Young
By Barbara Young, PharmD

Have you noticed a red, scaly, and very itchy rash in your groin area?  It may be caused by a fungal infection.

What Causes Jock Itch?
Tinea cruris, also known as jock itch, is a fungal infection usually found on the skin in the genital, inner thighs, and buttocks areas of the body. Things that can cause the infection or contribute to spreading it on your body include:

  • sweating,
  • wearing tight clothing,
  • re-wearing unwashed clothing,
  • being overweight (increase in skin folds),
  • close contact with other infected individuals,
  • exposure to damp surfaces such as in showers, and
  • having a fungus infection on your feet.

How Can I Treat Jock Itch?
Use an antifungal product that you can buy over the counter such as butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra®) clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF®), miconazole (Lotrimin AF®), terbinafine (Lamisil®), or tolnaftate (Tinactin®). Be sure to read the package instructions before use. Evaluation of these products has found no significant differences in their ability to treat the infection. However, butenafine and terbinafine may be more effective in long term resolution of the infection. If you have questions about selecting a product, ask your pharmacist for assistance.

Other actions you should consider in treating your infection and to keep it from returning include:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric.
  • Keep your body clean and shower right after exercise. Be sure to dry the skin areas completely before getting dressed.
  • Avoid walking barefoot and always wear protective footwear in public facilities. 
  • Don’t share clothing or towels with others.

If you also have athlete’s foot, be sure to treat that condition as well, as it can spread to the groin area.

Jock itch can be managed with a combination of medication and other actions to reduce the spread or reinfection with the fungus.  If your skin infection symptoms do not get better after a week of treatment you should see your healthcare professional.

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